Watch: Wong picked off to end Game 4 with Beltran at plate
It was the situation everyone — except Red Sox fans — wanted to see. With Boston leading 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth of Game 4 of the World Series, Carlos Beltran, the now-legendary October hitter and potential Hall of Famer, was at the plate representing the tying run against Koji Uehara, the Red Sox’ dominant closer and the ALCS MVP. This was October drama at its peak: two of the biggest stars of the series facing each other with the game on the line.
Uehara’s first pitch to Beltran was a splitter that dove out of the zone. The second was a fastball that caught the outside corner for a strike that evened the count at 1-1.
There would be no need for a third pitch. Rookie Kolten Wong, who was on first base to pinch-run for Allen Craig, who had singled earlier in the inning, was caught leaning toward second and picked off by Uehara to end the game, leaving Beltran, bat in hand, at the plate.
(GIF via @ChadMoriyama)
As you can see in the top GIF above, Wong was clearly out. Uehara’s throw was perfect, as was the tag by Mike Napoli, who also had first base blocked with his right foot. It was an inexcusable error by Wong, especially because his run was, by itself, meaningless if it didn’t also include a second run that could have easily been provided by the bat of Beltran, whose 16 career postseason home runs rank 9th all-time..
Thanks to that play and Jonny Gomes’ three-run homer in the sixth, the Red Sox won the game 4-2 and tied the Series at two games apiece. That guarantees that this Series will head back to Boston, which is good news for baseball fans of all stripes as this has been a thrilling Series thus far. After Game 3 ended in crazy fashion on an obstruction call and Game 4 was decided on a pickoff, just imagine how Game 5 will end.